Bay Roberts teen grabs national gold medal
Bay Roberts teen wins national blind hockey gold medal
Bay Roberts resident Dylan Bradbury recently returned home from an exciting trip to Toronto, Ont. As a member of the Team Atlantic blind hockey team, Dylan brought back a gold medal from the 2016 Canadian Blind Hockey Tournament. It’s an annual competition he really looks forward to.
He’s comfortable with them. It’s inclusive. It’s the way sports is supposed to be. Amanda Bradbury
There was unfinished business for Dylan Bradbury and Team Atlantic heading into the 2016 Canadian Blind Hockey Championships.
The previous year, the team fell in the gold medal game of the hotly contested tournament and was forced to settle for a silver medal.
That left the 17-year-old Bay Roberts resident and his teammates looking for a sliver of redemption when they traveled to Toronto, Ont. for the tournament, held March 11-13.
After two days of fierce competition, the third day bore results for Team Atlantic and Bradbury, the team’s only representative from Newfoundland and Labrador.
They defeated Central 7-2 to claim the gold medal. Redemption had been served.
“It feels good to get the gold,” he told The Compass last week. “All I know is that I like it.”
The games were played at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens, formerly the famed Maple Leaf Gardens. It’s the same place Darryl Sittler, Wendell Clark, Doug Gilmour, Mats Sundin and the likes played till the Air Canada Centre opened in 1999.
A Leafs fan himself, this added something a little extra for Dylan. “That was pretty cool,” he said. Of course, nabbing a national title is cool and everything. But getting that honour in front of family and friends is something else altogether. With his mother Amanda in the stands, Team At- lantic provided thrill after thrill for supporters. She lept out of her seat on every goal and her voice was probably heard reverberating throughout the facility.
“We’re very proud. It’s amazing,” said Amanda. “I get emotional thinking about it.”
Like the pros
For the athletes participating in the tournament, it’s like being in the professional ranks for the weekend.
Dylan and his mates stayed at the Holiday Inn adjacent to the rink. When it was time to head there, they’d go strap their gear on and hit the ice.
When the game was over, it’d be team activities and the like. There was some family time sprinkled in too. Even the flight up was semi-professional.
Dylan shared a plane with the Binghamton Senators, the farm team of the Ottawa Senators, as they left St. John’s.
Each trip to the national tournament is special for Dylan. It means getting back on the ice for the first time in almost a year.
He used to play minor hockey in Bay Roberts, but the sport became too quick for him when he hit the midget level.
“It took me a little while to get used to it,” said Dylan. “I took one spin around and knew I needed my skates sharpened.”
It also means he gets to reunite with friends and teammates he’s missed. Dylan gets to immerse himself in a community that he doesn’t normally get to experience in his home province.
“That’s the best part,” Dylan said of hanging out in Toronto with teammates.
“He’s comfortable with them,” added Amanda. “It’s inclusive. It’s the way sports is supposed to be.”
Bay Roberts resident Dylan Bradbury proudly chomps down on his gold medal from the 2016 Canadian Blind Hockey Championships held in Toronto March 11-13.